Countries that do not share European values of human empathy and solidarity cannot count on receiving money from the bloc, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned in an interview with the newspaper Bild.
Renewing a threat issued this week by his cabinet colleague, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, Gabriel said that while Germany was opening gymnasiums, barracks and homes to refugee families, other countries were “laying barbed wire on their borders and closing the gates”.
The comments were a thinly veiled jab at Hungary, which has built a fence along its border with Serbia and is building one on its border with Croatia to prevent refugees fleeing war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, to make it into Europe’s frontier-free Schengen zone.
“Europe is a community of values based on human sympathy and solidarity. And those that don’t share our values can’t count on our money over time,” said Gabriel.
“If it continues like this, then Europe is in danger, more than it was from the financial crisis or the Greece crisis.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s closing of the border and introducing laws making it easier for his government to crack down on migrants has helped reduce the flow of asylum seekers travelling through Austria and into Germany.
But images of Hungarian police blasting refugees with tear gas and water cannon have also tarnished Europe’s image and underscored divisions over how to respond to the influx of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from the war-torn Middle East.